pa·​nache | \ pə-ˈnash How to pronounce panache (audio) , -ˈnäsh How to pronounce panache (audio) \

Definition of panache

1 : an ornamental tuft (as of feathers) especially on a helmet The palace guard had a panache on his helmet.
2 : dash or flamboyance in style and action : verve flashed his … smile and waved with the panache of a big-city mayor— Joe Morgenstern

Illustration of panache

Illustration of panache

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Did You Know?

Few can match the panache of French poet and soldier Cyrano de Bergerac. In his dying moments, he declared that the one thing left to him was his panache, and that assertion at once demonstrates the meaning of the word and draws upon its history. Panache derives via Middle French from Late Latin pinnaculum, meaning "small wing" or "gable," a root that also gave English the word pinnacle. In both French and English, panache originally referred to a showy, feathery plume on a hat or helmet; its "dashing" figurative sense developed from the verve and swagger of one bold enough to wear such an adornment in public. When the dying Cyrano turned his huge nose heavenward and spoke of his panache, his nose became the literal and figurative pinnacle of a multifaceted pun.

Examples of panache in a Sentence

She played the role of hostess with great panache.
Recent Examples on the Web Clearly, the novelty of the novel virus has lost its panache. Mare Czinar, azcentral, "Sit. Stay. Here's why I'm not hiking during coronavirus, even though my dogs love being out," 1 May 2020 Yet, for such a momentous event, Mr Putin’s gambit performed before the Duma, lacked panache and drama. The Economist, "Putin’s special operation A constitutional ploy may keep Vladimir Putin in power until 2036," 10 Mar. 2020 The interest went beyond the quarterback’s flamboyant nature and marketing panache. David Moore, Dallas News, "Flashback: How Stephen Jones convinced Jerry to pass on Johnny Manziel in the 2014 draft," 23 Apr. 2020 Cesari was a high-establishment artist, painting in an older style, celebrating panache even on those messy occasions when saints are slaying devils. Brian T. Allen, National Review, "Art for Sale in Maastricht: Quality, Quality, Quality," 11 Mar. 2020 He would be considered a strikeout, and the Seminoles would be ridiculed nationally for promoting their interim coach and being unable to land a candidate who has pizzazz and panache. Mike Bianchi,, "If Bob Stoops rejects FSU, then maybe Odell Haggins could become Seminoles’ Ed Orgeron | Commentary," 12 Nov. 2019 This time, for the first time in a long time, dating to his March 2017 ankle injury, Waiters Island again became amusement park, the thrill ride of deep jumpers, attacking play, passing with purpose and panache. Ira Winderman,, "Dion Waiters sizzles in reserve in victory, but makes clear starting remains priority," 10 Oct. 2019 Buildings of varying scale, color, physical shape, density, and panache decorate the skyline with a seeming vertical imperviousness. Wired, "Depth of Field: The Shared Memory of One World Trade Center," 12 Sep. 2019 Here he is played by Johnny Flynn (Beast and the too-little known British comedy series Lovesick) with panache and just enough disapproval of Emma. Caryn James, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Emma': Film Review," 3 Feb. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'panache.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of panache

1553, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for panache

Middle French pennache, from Old Italian pennacchio, from Late Latin pinnaculum small wing — more at pinnacle

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Time Traveler for panache

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The first known use of panache was in 1553

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Last Updated

16 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Panache.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2020.

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How to pronounce panache (audio) How to pronounce panache (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of panache

: lots of energy and style

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